Who is Shiva’s wife?
As a god who is very popular, Shiva’s marital and family life comes under a lot of scrutiny. While many stories and myths expound Shiva, Shiva’s wife and the perfect relationship he has always cherished with his wife, few clarify who his wife actually was. So who is Shiva’s wife? Was Shiva’s wife Sati? Or was Shiva’s wife the Goddess Parvati?
Shiva had two wives. The first of Shiva’s wives was the goddess Sati. The second was the goddess Parvati. Both of Shiva’s wives have many names they are referred to as: Shakti, Uma, Gauri, Kali, Annapurna Dakshayani etc.
Some followers of Shiva say that Sati was Shiva’s first wife and Parvati was his second wife. Others say that Parvati is actually a reincarnation of Sati.
Sati is the Hindu goddess of marital bliss and longevity.There are many stories about why the goddess agreed to take human form. Some devotees of Shiva believe that Sati the goddess was asked by Brahma to take a human form so that she could bring Shiva out of his ascetic life and into one of wedlock. It seems that Brahma was tired of Shiva and his bachelor lifestyle and he was tired of Shiva making fun of Vishnu and his wedded life and the misery that it sometimes caused them.
Sati was born to the chief of the Manas Putras or the human sons of Brahma. This chief was better known as the great and learned Daksha. As Brahma had asked her to take human form for the sake of getting her married to the wild god Shiva, even when Sati was young, all she thought about was Shiva. She loved all the Shiva tales, hymns, chants and songs and knew the Shiva stotras by heart. Every day she would pray to the great lord so that he would accept her. As Sati grew older, her beauty grew with her. Soon she grew into a beautiful, carefree girl whose heart was set on the great Shiva. Her father, Daksha, had plans of getting her married to a family equal in stature as his own. Kings and princes from all over came and asked for her hand in marriage. Sati though had her eyes and heart set on Shiva- the vagabond. She refused every suitor till her father was frustrated and furious. Finally Sati could take it no more and she set out to become Shiva’s wife.She forsook all the luxuries and security of her father’s palace and withdrew to the forests. In the forest she led the life of an ascetic, forsaking comfort for devotion. Such was the passion to achieve her eventual goal of marrying Shiva that Sati soon gave up all forms of nourishment. She followed this rigorous path until Shiva finally relented and agreed to have her as his bride. Thus her rigorous devotion paid off and Sati got what she had always wanted, what she had been born for – to be Shiva’s wife.
After the Goddess Sati died prematurely, Shiva made a promise to himself that he would never take another wife and would live his life as an ascetic, detached from emotions- a vow that he had to break when Parvati came along and won his heart for good. They married and are, till date, considered to be the most ideal couple.